I’m very excited about this trip review as it will have you booking tickets quicker than you can say ole! With the excuse of a friend’s wedding in Valencia, Kirti packed up the family and headed to Spain….
Where in Spain did you visit?
Spain – Barcelona and Valencia
Me, my husband and 7 month old baby
20th Sep – 1st Oct 2013. The weather was brilliant. Barcelona was fantastic – warm but not hot and super cool during the evenings but not too cool that you need a jacket or anything. Valencia was much hotter though but nicer in the evenings.
How did you book the trip?
We booked the flights through our travel agent, Sunpac and as for the hotels, we booked apartments via airbnb.com
Which airline did you fly?
We flew with Swiss. Note that it’s 15 hours altogether with the stopover at Zurich when we left for Barcelona. Longer when we got back from Valencia. Excellent service. They were very particular about tying the seatbelt for the baby (which we hadn’t experienced on a previous trip to India) and also provided us with a bassinet for the little one. On the night flight, they offered dinner for the baby (jars of baby food) which was a welcome surprise considering we didn’t expect anything. Oh small side note about Zurich airport – fantastic family room at the airport which is sooo child friendly your child won’t leave!
Getting to the apartments
In both cases we took a taxi from the airport in Barcelona and one from the train station in Valencia. Rough journey time of 20-30 minutes.
Barcelona was fantastic – we stayed in an area called El Poblenou which had a wonderful city view from the terrace. The lady who owned the apartment actually lives there and was renting it out for the summer. She had given us a play pen, a changer and a small bath tub for my little one which was super helpful. The apartment was huge and was well equipped with everything we would need. Having the kitchen was really helpful as we could prepare baby food and have hot water when we wanted but I think the most important thing was space. We could spread baby’s things around instead of it being just a little room in the hotel which really worked for us.
Valencia was different. We were right in the centre of things, unlike Barcelona. Everything was walking distance or you could take a bus or taxi which was extremely cheap. Again, the girl who was renting her apartment had provided us with a crib and all essential things. It was a smaller apartment but again worked very well.
El Glop stands out as we ate amazing seafood paella there. It’s a different experience as the restaurant is in the suburbs and very accessible by Metro. We ate tapas of course which was quite lovely in most places. The other place that stands out for amazing chocolate and churros was a little shop and cafe which was round the corner from the Museo Picasso – must visit and buy from there!
We had friends with us so they took us to really local places which I don’t think we would have visited otherwise. Zacarias on Carrer de Ciscar (for the fantastic tapas and arroz), L’Estimat near the beachfront (brilliant seafood noodle paella and meat paella) and the various gelato places near the Cathedral (they had salmon and tortilla options which we weren’t brave enough to try – we did do Baileys and Twix ones though which were super yum). Oooh also must have is the horchata in Valencia (an almond flavoured refreshing drink)
Best Things To Do in Valencia
City of Arts and Sciences was brilliant. We spent almost 3-4 hours in Oceanografic and it would be awesome for the kids with the sharks, belugas and walruses. We didn’t get enough time to see the rest but you can estimate a day or two spent very well in this whole bit.
We also did a bull fighting tour at the Bullfighting Museum and the Plaza de Toros de Valencia. I think the audioguide might be worth it here for perhaps a couple but can get expensive for a whole group. Be warned that you need to leave the stroller downstairs when you visit the museum. And don’t forget to catch the AV of the whole bullfight – it is quite intense! The ring tour itself was quite nice and well worth a visit.
Walking around the old part of the town was also quite lovely with plenty of cafes to grab tapas, gelatos or a horchata. The beach is brilliant – must go!
Best Things To Do in Barcelona
Sagrada Familia. Please pre-book this in advance and aim for the 9am slot. It was the best decision we made. Light is fantastic, especially for photographers and the crowds haven’t descended on the place. Very stroller friendly too.
Museu de Picasso was also quite good (one bright-eyed attendant spotted our stroller and we got a quick entry in which was fantastic given the ginormous queues the museum generates). The museum is super stroller friendly and I love Picasso so it was a win-win situation all around!
Montjuic Castle – the views are quite spectacular but so is the whole journey of coming up the Telerific which is a must-do. Do note that it is severely stroller unfriendly unless your stroller has magnificent suspension. Unfortunately after getting up there, it’s quite problematic to move the stroller and if you want to go up another level, it’s only steps (no ramp) which makes it again quite painful if you have a baby with you.
Caso Battlo was interesting but the crowds are quite mad and if you have a stroller, makes life difficult especially if you need to keep waiting for the elevator to take you up/down.
Also note that La Merce, a festival happens in Barcelona end Sep. This was amazing because the city offered so many activities of which we only managed to catch the parade of the giants which was so much fun. It’s crowded, noisy but still fun!
Getting between Barcelona and Valencia
We took a train – I got my Spanish friend to book this as I found the Renfe site very unfriendly to use. The journey was 3 hours but be warned, if you have giant suitcases like we did, storage tends to be a problem. So try to get first into the compartment if possible. The journey was very comfortable with baby changing facilities available as well.
We would return in a heartbeat 🙂 It was our first trip to Spain and we loved it. Can’t wait to visit again.
The apartments were pretty family friendly. Spain is very stroller friendly – sidewalks have inclines, elevators everywhere (no escalators hurrah) and amazingly friendly people who love children (every 2nd person said hello to our little one). Most restaurants tended to have diaper changing facilities in their disabled toilets, very different from our initial expectations.
If you’ve enjoyed Kirti’s stunning photography, check out her Etsy store where she’ll be selling some of these very photos and more!